On 11.28.2013 the new Terminal 3 at Shenzhen International Airport has opened after just five years of planning and construction. With an overall length of 1500 m and a gross floor space of 500,000 m², it increases the capacity of the existing airport in future by up to 40 million passengers per year.
The project is the result of an international competition held in 2008, from which the team of Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas supported by German engineers Knippers Helbig emerged victorious. Based on a given building organisation and floor plan structure, a freely shaped terminal design was developed.
The building envelope is dominated by a honeycomb-like facade which through its double skin largely permits indirect light to enter the interior through 25,000 openings. Depending on the sun?s position, rays of sunlight also enter the building directly, offering unusual continuously changing lighting effects throughout the day.
The diamond-shaped steel structure of the roof and facade refers directly to the honeycomb shape of the facade and is stiffened additionally by cross members. The spring-loaded bearing bolts of the steel structure permit uniform distribution of temperature and especially seismic loads on the supports.
The openings and inclination angles of the panes of glass were equally matched to each other as were the daylight and energy input. Developing the geometry involved the specification of the structure the steel construction as well as the coordinates of all facade elements of the outer shell. Parametric software tools allowed iterative optimisation of the facade at very short time intervals, making it possible to complete the preliminary design of both the facade and the structure within the short space of a year.
The success of project is the result of the close collaboration between Italian, German and Chinese planners and thanks to the great openness of the client towards innovative approaches to design and planning tools as well as unconventional technical solutions.